When Rudolph and Amelia Dolle first ventured to Ocean City in 1906, Ocean City still was an up-and- coming resort. It was at this resort four years later that they placed the family’s hand-carved carousel on the famous boardwalk just adjacent to a candy store operated by a gentleman named “Mr. Green.”
As time passed, Green wanted to sell his business. Dolle and his wife offered to buy it with the provision that he teach Dolle’s children (of which there were five) the secrets of making his famous salt water taffy. The deal was struck in 1910, and an institution on the Delmarva Peninsula was born.
During those first years the Dolle children all participated in the operation of the business now known as Dolle’s Candyland. However, in the mid-1930’s, Dolle’s middle child, Rudolph, acquired complete control of the operation. Today, Rudolph’s son (the third Rudolph, known as “Bunky”) and his family operate the business.
Back in 1910, the salt water taffy was cooked in small batches, cooled on marble tables, pulled by hand and finally wrapped by hand. While the process certainly has been mechanized over the years, the Dolle family’s commitment to quality remains the same.
Although Dolle’s salt water taffy remains the hallmark product, today the company makes an assortment of candies, ranging from homemade fudge to caramel corn (a must-have for visitors to the Ocean City boardwalk), brittles, caramel apples and a full line of homemade chocolates.
Along with a growing product line, the family has expanded the business to include a wholesale candy company, A & A Candy, as well as Pony Tails Candy of Chincoteague, Va. All three companies provide the highest quality salt water taffy and other confections that have made Dolle’s Candyland of Ocean City famous for 100 years.
What did you think you would be when you grew up?
I had always had an interest in the family business, working there while in high school and college. I never seriously considered other occupations, as I truly enjoyed the candy manufacturing processes and business. It’s in my blood.
Name one of your favorite movies.
Recently my wife and I saw “It’s Complicated,” which we both enjoyed immensely.
Describe your perfect dream vacation.
Hawaii, hopefully within the next couple of years.
What book are you currently reading?
I truly enjoy a good mystery - especially anything by John Grisham. (I believe I’ve read all of his novels.)
Aside from a family member, whom would you most want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
Quite truthfully, I would not like to be stranded with anyone other than my wife or family.
What’s your pet peeve?
Being late. I have often said that I would rather be two hours early that two minutes late!
I’d give anything to meet:
I don’t know that I would give “anything” to meet someone in particular, but I do find Gov. Mike Huckabee interesting. He seems to be an honest, moral and forthright politician, someone a bit unusual in our times.
The best advice that I’ve received:
That came from my father; quite simply: “Mind your own business and treat people right.”
What excites you most about your job?
That’s easy. I work with some of the finest people in the industry. It is a team of dedicated employees, both past and present, that has enabled Dolle’s to mark its 100th anniversary, and for this my family is truly grateful.